senate Bill S5094

Relates to the use of campaign funds for attorney's fees

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Sponsor

O'BRIEN

Co-Sponsors

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Bill Status


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor
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actions

  • 08 / May / 2013
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS
  • 08 / Jan / 2014
    • REFERRED TO ELECTIONS

Summary

Relates to the use of campaign funds to pay attorney's fees.

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Bill Details

Versions:
S5094
Legislative Cycle:
2013-2014
Current Committee:
Senate Elections
Law Section:
Election Law
Laws Affected:
Amd §14-130, El L

Sponsor Memo

BILL NUMBER:S5094

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the election law, in relation to the
use of campaign funds to pay attorney's fees

PURPOSE: The purpose of this legislation is to explicitly prohibit
the use of campaign funds to pay attorney's fees or other costs
associated with criminal or civil litigation.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section 1 amends section 14-130 of the election law to expressly
prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay attorney's fees or costs of
defending against civil or criminal investigation or prosecution for
alleged violations of state or federal law. The only exception would
be for costs related to civil actions for alleged violations of
Article 16 of the Election Law.

Section 2 sets forth the effective date.

JUSTIFICATION: Currently, New York's election law, allowing
candidates to spend campaign funds for "any lawful purpose," is among
the most lax in the nation. While spending campaign funds for personal
use is technically prohibited, the lack of any definition for what
constitutes a personal use renders the provision meaningless. This
shortcoming in the law is striking when compared to the detailed
restrictions issued by the Federal Election Commission.

Campaign donors have a reasonable expectation that their contributions
will be used for the candidate's election efforts and the execution of
his or her duties,. They do not expect their contributions to
subsidize attorney's fees or litigation costs that have nothing to do
with the nomination or election of the candidate to whom they made a
donation. This legislation would therefore clarify that campaign
funds may not be used for this purpose while preserving candidates'
ability to use campaign funds for legal fees directly involved with
nomination or election to office.

LOCAL FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the 60th day after it
shall have become a law.

view bill text
                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  5094

                       2013-2014 Regular Sessions

                            I N  S E N A T E

                               May 8, 2013
                               ___________

Introduced  by Sens. O'BRIEN, ADDABBO, AVELLA, BRESLIN, DILAN, GIANARIS,
  GIPSON,  HOYLMAN,  KRUEGER,  PERKINS,  SERRANO,  SQUADRON,   STAVISKY,
  STEWART-COUSINS,  TKACZYK  -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Elections

AN ACT to amend the election law, in relation to  the  use  of  campaign
  funds to pay attorney's fees

  THE  PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. Section 14-130 of the election law, as added by chapter 152
of the laws of 1985, is amended to read as follows:
  S 14-130. Campaign funds for personal use. Contributions received by a
candidate or a political  committee  may  be  expended  for  any  lawful
purpose.  Such  funds shall not be converted by any person to a personal
use which is unrelated to a political  campaign  or  the  holding  of  a
public office or party position.  NO CAMPAIGN FUNDS SHALL BE USED TO PAY
ATTORNEY'S  FEES OR ANY COSTS OF DEFENDING AGAINST ANY CIVIL OR CRIMINAL
ACTION, INVESTIGATION OR PROSECUTION FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF STATE  OR
FEDERAL  LAW  ALLEGED  TO  HAVE BEEN COMMITTED BY A CANDIDATE, PUBLIC OR
PARTY OFFICIAL, MEMBERS OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY  OR  DOMESTIC  PARTNER
UNLESS  SUCH  EXPENDITURE IS USED EXCLUSIVELY FOR COSTS RELATED TO CIVIL
ACTIONS INSTITUTED PURSUANT TO ARTICLE SIXTEEN OF THIS CHAPTER.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the sixtieth  day  after  it  shall
have  become a law; provided, however, that the state board of elections
shall notify  all  registered  campaign  committees  of  the  applicable
provisions  of  this  act  within  thirty days after this act shall have
become a law.


 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD10322-02-3

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